The worst English King ever still gets a statue.

We have had mad, bad and the purely incompetent King in this country (along with some quietly good ones who rarely get a mention) but there is one King that is seen as being the worst by a country mile. It’s a measure of the man that he had his head chopped off by the Parliamentarians as generally our deference to the monarchy is pretty total. Unlike our cousins on the continent we have never been keen on doing the King or Queen in no matter how bad things were.  Charles the first is different as he thought that only God could judge him so, by his rationale, he could pretty much do whatever he liked. It’s quite surprising that there is still a huge bronze statue of him in Charing Cross, facing the place he was executed, so someone was clearly having a laugh when they placed it there in 1675 after his son Charles the Second was restored to the throne. Bronze is the best medium to sculpt in and some fine smaller pieces for the home such as Bronze Wildlife Sculpture can be found at The story of the statue is just as interesting as the person it was representing.

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The statue is thought to have been cast in 1633 some eight years into Charles reign. Things were not going well. He’d married a Roman Catholic, engaged in some pointless and costly wars against Spain in the Americas, set up some monopolies against the law of Parliament and kept coming up with fines and taxes on the people to fund his lavish lifestyle. Worse he had decided to adjourn parliament because they annoyed him and ordered them not to sit in the Commons until he said so (the Monarchy could do that then). So, the looks on the MP’s faces when a massive bronze statue of Charles looking all haughty on a horse turning up from France 4 years later must have been priceless.

It was commissioned by Richard Weston, Charles’s Royal treasurer and biggest fan. He was building a big house outside of London and wanted something to show off in the Garden. The ensuing civil war didn’t go well for anyone on the Kings side and when the Parliamentarian forces found it they were very keen to melt it down and use the bronze for something useful like celebratory cutlery. The man tasked with the job apparently buried it, no mean feature considering its size, and gave the troops some brass ones swearing blind it was from the statue.

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England did not get on well with being a Republic/Military Dictatorship and so they asked Charles son, Charles the Second to be King. Weston’s heir found the statue and sold it back to the King where it was duly stuck in the middle of London at Charing Cross. It still resides there today.

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